Friday, December 31, 2010

Cranberry Orange Cream Cheese Spread. SCHMEAR AWAY!

Oh how I love Cranberries.

And Oh how I love Cream Cheese.

When I have this glory in my refrigerator, I will literally walk around trying to find things to Schmear this on.

I love the word Schmear.  I feel so "New York Deli" when I say it.

I walk down the aisles of my grocery store, looking for anything that would be worthy to have a Schmer of this stuff.

And you probably won't believe me, but as I fell asleep last night, I thought "I wonder what I have in the house that I can Schmear that stuff on for breakfast tomorrow morning".

So sad I know, but these are the things I think of as I drift off to slumber.

Since my beloved Cranberries will soon no longer grace my grocery store produce shelves, I had to quickly make 4 tubs of this stuff.  You know, so I can "Schmear" it on things.

Just think of the possibilities:

* Use it as a spread for your turkey sandwich.

* Schemar it on a freshly toasted Belgium Waffle instead of your normal syrup.

* Bake my recipe for Crazy Delicious Cranberry Bread and spread a Schmear on that

* Oh and those extra thick English Muffins, where all the cranberry cream cheese will fall down into each of the little nooks & crannies.  Oh My.

* Schmear it on your favorite cracker, so pretty for a party.

* Use it for fruit dip.

* Or of course, like the New Yorkers do, Schmear it on a toasted Bagel.

Now hurry and go buy this stuff:

1 (8 ounce) cube cream cheese, room temperature.
1/2 c. honey
1/2 c. Fresh Cranberries Chopped up in Blender (about 1 c. fresh cranberies)
Zest of one Orange

Note: If you have Walnuts add 1/4 cup chopped walnuts.  I LOVE walnuts in this but I didn't have any today, which made me really sad.

Grab some fresh cranberries and throw them into a blender.  About 1 cup of fresh, should turn into 1/2 c. chopped, but you might have to throw a few in or take a few out.  Give it a whirl in your blender and see how many whole berries come out to 1/2 c. blended.

Don't blend them so much that they turn into cranberry particles.  It's ok if they are somewhat chunky.

Put your room temperature cream cheese, honey, and chopped cranberries in your Kichen Aid mixer, or in a big bowl. 

Take out your spiffy zester, and zest one orange over the bowl.  Be sure not to zest too far down into the white of the orange rind, cause that stuff is no good.

Isn't orange zest so pretty?

Blend everything up pretty thoroughly.

If you are using nuts, I would now add the nuts, after it has all been blended, and fold in your walnuts at this point.  I sure wish I had some walnuts.

Find a nice little container with a tight fitting lid and place in the refrigerator for several hours.  Over night is best.  It will get the flavors all married together and be so wonderful.

Now, grab something Schmearable and get going.

Just think of all the possibilities. 

Schmear until your little heart's content.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Straight from "Recipe Heaven" SPINACH & BACON QUICHE with a Twist

Have you ever taken a very first bite of something and immediately just closed your eyes, sat back, and everything suddenly was in slow motion?

You started chewing slow, as you savored every single bite.  Not wanting it to end.

That's how I feel about my Spinach & Bacon Quiche.

If there is such a thing as "Recipe Heaven", then this glorious thing is the Archangel.

This quiche recipe has been in my recipe binder for about 20 years, and I guard it with my life.

Several times over the years when I've served this, people have uttered (in slow motion of course) "Oh you should sell this".

Need I say more?

1 Frozen Deep Dish Pie Crust
1/2 lb Bacon (about 10 strips), fried and crumbled
3 eggs
1 1/2 c. Heavy Whipping Cream
1/2 c. Grated Fresh Parmesan Cheese
1 c. Shredded Swiss Cheese
1/2 of a 10 ounce box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed thoroughly
3 ounces cream cheese (a little less than half of an 8 ounce cube), cut into little cubes


Preheat oven to 350.

NOTE:  Keep your Cream Cheese in refrigerator until ready to use!  I'll tell ya why later.

Start by frying up your 10 slices of bacon.   I normally fry them 5 strips at a time.

When finished, let them sit on paper towel while you fry up the other 5 pieces.

Bacon......Ahhhh......Have you ever seen anything more beautiful in your life?

When bacon is finished, let the strips just sit and hang out while you get the spinach ready.

The next step is pretty IMPORTANT that's why I made the word important in all Caps.

If you have worked with frozen chopped spinach before, you know it's loaded with water.  That's what makes this next step pretty darn important.

Makes sure your 10 ounce box of frozen spinach is totally thawed.  Over the sink or over a bowl, take out the spinach, and literally use your hands and squeeeeeeze.  Just like you are squeezing out a sponge.

Trust me, you DO NOT want all that yucky liquid messing up your beautiful Quiche.

After you have squeezed all the water out, you will have some clumps of spinach that looks like this.

Ok, now you are ready to mix everything all up.

In your Kitchen Aid mixer or in a large bowl, put in your 3 eggs, heavy whipping cream, shredded Swiss cheese,the crumbled bacon, and grated Parmesan cheese. 

Oh my!  I love bacon.

Mix together until all is incorporated.  Don't over mix.

Now gently take your spinach, and separate it from the clumps that you squeezed them into, and place into the liquid mixture.  Carefully stir with a spoon to incorporate.

Ok, now comes the twist.  Now comes the extra little step that makes this Quiche go from a good recipe to I think I see angels recipe.

Take your Cream Cheese out of the refrigerator.  It needs to be cool because it's much much much easier to cut into cubes if it's cold.  Room temperature cream cheese is a no no if you want cute little cubes.

Make them about the size of a mini crouton.  If you don't know what that size is, then make them smaller than a dice.  If you don't know how big a dice is, then make them a bit smaller than a bouillon cube.

If you fail to comprehend, then see if this helps.

Once you have cut up about 3 ounces of cream cheese into cute little cubes, very very very gently, fold them into your mixture.

You DO NOT want to mash them up into the batter.

What we want is wonderful little pillows of cream cheese, throughout the quiche.  Like little surprise bites, that make you sit back, close your eyes, and go "oh my goodness".

Pour the mixture into the waiting frozen Deep Dish pie shell.

Oh lookie lookie.

 Bake in a 350 preheated oven for 45 minutes.

NOTE:  Sometimes it's a little tricky to tell when a quiche is done.  I like to set my timer for 40 minutes and keep checking every couple minutes or so, but 45 minutes should be good.

The key is to make sure, when you start to pull it out of the oven, that  the middle is not moving or shaking.

It should look something like this wonderment.

Again I post another important NOTE:  Let your Recipe from Heaven sit for AT LEAST 25 minutes before cutting into.  Otherwise it will be all liquidy and not look pretty and not taste as good.

Feel free to just sit and stare at her, and think about what it will be when you take your first bite.

Time will stop, you will close your eyes, and I do believe the Archangel of Quiche's will float above you.

See the wonderful little pillows of cream cheese?

Now excuse me while I sit back and close my eyes.  I can't very well type when my eyes are closed.  Plus I don't want to be rude to the Archangel.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Raspberry Jalapeno Chicken Wings. Sweet and Spicy Like Antonio Banderas!

What is better than a combination of Sweet and Spicy?

It's honestly the best combination of flavors that will every hit your palate.

First you taste sweet, then the hot hits you, what a wonderful surprise.

Guys love eating chicken wings cause it brings them back to their caveman, eating-with-their-hands days.

Gals love these wings, cause they're sweet and spicy.  Kinda like Antonio Banderas.

20 chicken drumettes
1 c. Seedless Red Raspberry Jam (be sure to get seedless)
1 (4 ounce) can diced Jalapenos
1 TBSP Worcestershire Sauce
1 1/2 TBSP Honey
1/2 stick butter

Note:  I bought the little chicken drummies, but feel free to use both chicken drummies AND chicken wings. After all, they ARE called chicken "wings".  It's just a personal preference.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

In a small saucepan on medium heat, place the seedless raspberry jam, honey and the small can of diced Jalapenos. Stir to combine and let it sit in the saucepan on low to get all sticky, sweet & spicy. Just like Antonio.

Take your large pot, and put in the half stick of butter and 1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce and turn your stove up to level 9, just below high.

Get that butter and Worcestershire all melted and hot.

Once the butter is all melted, place just half (10) of your chicken drummies in the butter. I only do 10 at a time, cause you don't want them to get all crowded.

Use your tongs to gently place your drummies in the butter, this stuff will splatter and totally ruin your weekend.

With your tongs, get the chicken all coated with the butter.  Leave them to saute for just about 5 minutes.

You are not totally cooking them, just getting them warm and coating them with the butter mixture.

Once they are all warm and coated, about 5 minutes, take the 10 drummies out and place them in a large bowl to hang out.

Now take your other 10 drummies and with your tongs, place the last 10 in the pot with the butter and Worcestershire.  Toss and do the same with those as you did the first 10.

When those are done, place them in the large bowl with their other friends.

Now take the raspberry jalapeno mixture off the stove, and pour all of it into the waiting drummies.

Mix the drummies all around with the sauce. They are so excited to be sweet and spicy like Mr. Banderas.

Now get out your jelly roll pan or 1/4 sheet pan, the one with sides, and spray it with Pam.

Take your tongs and place the drummies in the pan.  Take a large spoon, and gently pour all the raspberry jalapeno sauce over each of the drummies, coating them all the way. 

Raw chicken isn't pretty I know, but I wanted to give you an idea about making sure they are good and coated.

Now pop these sweeties in the oven for about 35 minutes.  Keep checking them, cause you are going to flip them with your tongs halfway through.

You'll know when they are done. Both sides will look wonderfully golden.  The entire cooking process should be about 40 minutes.  Could be 30 depending on your oven, so just keep checking.

Next thing you know, you won't be calling them "little drummies" anymore.

They will be all grown up, sweet and spicy just like their idol, Antonio Banderas (said in the most wonderful sultry Latin American accent of course).

Be sure to let them sit for about 15 minutes before you dive into them.  They are way better when left to get all sticky and wonderful for about 15 minutes or more.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Broccoli, Cheese & Rice in Crescent POCKETS

I remember when Broccoli in Cheese Sauce was the most popular side dish in every home across America.

I remember when people would say "Sure, I eat broccoli, if it's covered with cheese sauce"!

What ever happened to that? 

I'll tell ya what happened to it.

Along came stuff like,  The Biggest Loser..... Dr. Oz....... Jamie Oliver......Trans Fat.....Saturated Fat.....Super Size Me......High Fructose Corn Syrup........COME ON PEOPLE!

It's Calorie Count Overload!

It makes you afraid to even eat anything.

Sometimes, a person has to have Broccoli with that "fearful"  Cheese Sauce.

These little broccoli, cheese & rice pockets are wonderful little side dishes.

And this is how I make them.  Cheese sauce and all.

1 package Green Giant Broccoli & Cheese Sauce in pouch (10 ounce)
1 bag Success Rice Boil in Bag
1 roll Crescent Rolls (Seamless Dough Sheet)
1/2 c. Parmesan Cheese
Salt & Pepper
Melted Butter (enough to brush the tops of the pockets)

Let me start by saying, feel free to use other fillings, like fresh steamed broccoli and shredded cheese.
Or brown rice instead of white rice.  But today, since I'm really in a hurry, and just because I want to defy the TV shows, I'm using the Broccoli & Cheese pouch.

This recipe makes 4 pockets, and if you're one of the calorie counters, and are afraid of the cheese sauce, just remember, this makes FOUR.  So it's not like you are eating the entire pouch.

Get out two pans, and fill with water.
In one pan, drop in your frozen broccoli & cheese sauce pouch, and turn the heat up high to get that water boiling.

In the other pan, drop in your Success Rice pouch.

I like to use these little rice "boil in bag" pouches when I'm in a hurry.  If you have not used them before, they really are handy.  But feel free to make Minute Rice, or whatever sort of rice you like.  This is just a nice quick way to make rice if you are going to use it as a "filler" for a recipe.

It's quite handy.  The little pouch has holes in it, and looks like this:

Not get your Broccoli Pouch and Rice Pouch boiling.

In the meantime, get out a large cookie sheet. and spray with Pam.

Take your Crescent Roll Sheet and spread out onto the cookie sheet.

I use my jelly roll/sheet cake pan.

It should look like this once you've spread it all out.

Now, carefully score the dough, into four squares as shown below:

Once the broccoli & rice have finished boiling,  open the pouches and combine them into one large bowl.
NOTE:  I DO NOT USE the entire pouch of rice.  I leave about 1/4 of the rice out, because it seems to be too much rice in ratio to the broccoli & cheese.

I just pour the extra rice in my doggies food bowl.  They love white rice.

Mix up the Broccoli & Cheese with the rice.

Spoon the mixture evenly onto the four little Crescent squares.

Once you have done this, sprinkle each square with a little salt and pepper and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.

Fold these little pockets over, and then crimp the edges with the tines of a fork.

Brush the little pockets with a bit of melted butter, and then sprinkle the top with a bit more Parmesan Cheese.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 19 minutes.  Keep checking, so they don't get too brown.

Oh these little guys are so good.

Great with grilled chicken, or a slice of meatloaf, or a pork chop.

Sometimes ya just gotta forego the roasted veggies, and head straight to the stuff covered in cheese!

Friday, December 17, 2010

That 70s Breakfast...........HONEY BUN COFFEE CAKE

Ah the 70s......and Honey Buns.

Back in the early 70s  when I was in school, I remember my mornings like it was yesterday.  Before the bus came, I'd sit and watch "The New Zoo Review" and eat my trusty HONEY BUN for breakfast.

My morning staple. 

That was before Calories, Fat Grams, Carbohydrates, Trans Fat and Jamie Oliver were around.

I can't hear the word Honey Bun and not have that wonderful memory of taste, come rushing back to me.

The crackled glaze on top, the cinnamon and brown sugar flavor and the moist cake center.

So of course I had to try this recipe when I discovered it back in 1999, and oh the memories!

Over 35 years has past since my first Honey Bun experience, and every time I taste this cake, I can almost hear Freddie the Frog, and Henrietta Hippo, teaching me wholesome values before I jumped on that school bus and headed off to school.

Now that I'm grown, I prefer to call it "Coffee Cake", but the child in me still wants to call it "Honey Bun Cake".

1 box yellow cake mix
8 ounce tub sour cream
4 eggs
3/4 c. vegetable oil
1 c brown sugar
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
2 c. powdered sugar
4 Tbsp. milk
1 Tbsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 325.  Prepare 9 x 13 pan.

In large mixing bowl, combine cake mix, eggs, oil, and sour cream.  Stir by hand until large lumps are gone.  There will still be some lumps but that's ok.

Pour half the batter into the pan.

Now, in a medium bowl.  Take your brown sugar and cinnamon and combine.

Mix up your brown sugar and cinnamon really well. 

Sprinkle the brown sugar mixture all over the batter in the cake pan.

Don't do what I did below. Be sure to get that cinnamon mixture all the way to the edge of the pan.

Now carefully spread the other half of the batter on  top.

Don't be afraid, it's gonna get really uncomfortable.

All the batter and stuff is gonna get all mixed together and you're gonna think you are doing it all wrong.

But don't worry how it looks.  Trust me.

Once it's all spread around, take a butter knife and twirl it all through the batter, so it gets all swirly and stuff.

Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Just when it's about done baking, mix together your powdered sugar, vanilla and milk.

I always use a fork to be sure all the little clumps get broken up.

Once the cake comes out of the oven, waste no time at all.

Pour this powdered sugar mixture over the warm cake.

Now sit back and wait for the wonderful crackle to appear.

Oh that honey bun topping.

Try your hardest to wait about 15 minutes before you cut into her.

I know it's gonna be hard waiting, especially if you have a nice cup of coffee sitting there.

But once it's time, close your eyes, and see if it takes you back to your Honey Bun days.

And if you don't have any Honey Bun memories, then start those memories today, right now.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


"Can you e-mail me that recipe?"

"Oh I MUST have that recipe!"

How many times will you hear that sentence this Holiday?

Inside my very special recipe binder, are recipes from all over the place -  From cookbooks, the internet, from friends, and even from people I've only met once (at a party, where I've said "Oh I MUST have that recipe").

This recipe came from that ONE SIMPLE SENTENCE.  A friend mentioned her Whiskey Meatballs, and I immediately thought ..... "Oh I NEED That Recipe"?

So I asked.

And she generously obliged.

Thank you Mary E. for sharing your DELICIOUS Holiday Whiskey Meatballs.  And I mean DELICIOUS!

Here are the ingredients:

1 Trusty Crockpot
1 bag (1 lb.) frozen meatballs
1/2 heaping c. Ketchup
1/2 c. Packed Brown Sugar
1/4 c. Whiskey
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce

NOTE:  1 bag of (1 pound) frozen meatballs is only about 18 to 20 meatballs.  That is perfect for a small get-together.  But if you're going to a larger party, you might want to get TWO bags of meatballs, which you would then, DOUBLE the above recipe.

ANOTHER NOTE:  I happened to have some left-over Bourbon Whiskey from my Bourbon slushes recipe, so I just used that.  I'm liquor illiterate, so I don't know the difference between plain ole Whiskey and Bourbon Whiskey.  Either way, they turned out DELISH with my Bourbon Whiskey.  Whiskey is Whiskey I guess (no feedback please from subject-matter experts).

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients except your meatballs.  Mix up really well.

Once all Whiskey'd up, place your frozen meatballs into your Crockpot.

I have an old vintage 70s 'Crockpot with little Mushrooms on it - so cute.  What I'm trying to say is (I got side-tracked with the cutsie mushrooms),  the older Crockpots are smaller, which is what I like for "Party" recipes.  Seems like the new Crockpots are so dang BIG.  The older Crockpots are smaller, and are perfect for the "Party" Crockpot. (I got my 70s one at a local flea market)

I DO have the large Crockpot (Thank You Kathy R.) and that is perfect for dinners and such. But if you are only using 1 or 2 bags of meatballs for this recipe, then the smaller Crock is better.

Enough about Crockposts.  Place your frozen meatballs into your Crock, and pour over the Whiskey sauce.  Mix it up all around so each meatball is coated with the Whiskey goodness.

Now turn the heat up to High.

Let them warm up, and stir occassionally.  This could take about an hour,since they are frozen,  then turn them down to low for a couple hours until they are nice and warm.

Party Meatballs are da bomb!  Especially with Whiskey.

I promise you, someone will ask you "Can I have this recipe?"


Oh I know where they name Whisky-a-Go-Go came from!

 Man these things are good!

Thank you Mary E.


Fast forward to the next day. I had a few meatballs leftover......I boiled a couple potatoes, mashed them up real quick like,  and made some buttery mashed potatoes. 

 Oh my gosh....Look what I did!